“The son of the disgraced former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) avoided his father’s fate, receiving a sentence of five years’ probation, including six months of home confinement, instead of federal prison for his role in an insider trading scheme,” the Buffalo News reports.
Politico: “Trump’s early decision to maintain his grip on his sprawling real estate empire — despite his pledge to put his business aside while in the White House — has created a vast web of potential conflicts of interest, accusations about his policies being driven by his business interests and even possible violations of the law.”
“Even as Trump kicks off his fourth year as president this week facing the stain of an impeachment trial, he has managed to skirt accountability for widespread possible conflicts of interest that critics say represent a blatant abuse of power and create dangerous risks to the integrity of the presidency.”
A federal judge sentenced former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) to 26 months in prison Friday on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI, the Washington Post reports.
“Collins sobbed in the courtroom while making an emotional statement to Broderick about the impact of his criminal conviction on himself and his family.”
Said Collins: “I have no excuse. I tarnished my reputation.”
Federal prosecutors recommended that former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who pleaded guilty to federal charges in an insider trading case, be sentenced to nearly five years in prison, CNN reports.
“The U.S. Probation Office is recommending that former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) spend a year and a day in custody, followed by supervised release and a $200,000 fine, for the insider trading violations that he pleaded guilty to last October,” the Buffalo News reports.
“The proposed sentence is far more lenient than the maximum called for in Collins’ plea agreement – which was four years and nine months.”
Former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told the San Diego Union Tribune that President Trump should consider clemency for convicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who is scheduled to be sentenced to prison on March 17.
Said Issa: “It’s not my decision. It’s the president’s decision. But I would certainly say the commuting of sentencing… has a certain ability to balance the public good. Are we better off spending $60,000 a year to put him behind bars or are we better off with him doing community service and going on with his life with the likelihood of him committing a crime in the future being pretty low?”
Issa is currently running for Hunter’s seat.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is showing no signs of stepping down from office despite his guilty plea Tuesday on a felony campaign finance charge in federal court, Politico reports.
“After years of denials and claims he was the target of a political witch hunt, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday morning to change his plea of not guilty to charges stemming from a sweeping campaign finance investigation,” the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
“The reversal comes nearly six months after Hunter’s wife and former campaign treasurer, Margaret Hunter, admitted to her role in a widespread scheme that saw the couple allegedly spend more than $200,000 in campaign donations on family expenses like vacations, gas, groceries, school lunches and oral surgery.”
“The congressman was seeking re-election but typically a guilty plea would include an agreement to step down.”
“Wait what? The president’s former national security advisor suggested that the commander-in-chief made life or death national security decisions because of an active conflict of interest related to his business?”
“Even by the standards of Trumpian corruption, this is holy-motherforking-shirtballs level stuff.”
“Bolton’s accusation, if accurate, would amount to the biggest scandal in the American presidency in half a century: The most senior security staffer, a man with unparalleled access to the president, believes that Trump acted in a way that is indistinguishable from double-dealing despots the world over.”
“Federal prosecutors have charged former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) with 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy in what they allege was a corrupt scheme involving her sales of a self-published children’s book series,” the Baltimore Sun reports.
“President Trump earlier this week asked for a show of hands from hundreds of wealthy donors in Chicago if they supported letting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) out of prison,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The informal poll over clemency for the disgraced former politician found that most people in the room were sympathetic… A trio of Republican congressmen at the back of the room was firmly opposed.”
Joe Biden was interviewed by Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes:
O’DONNELL: President Trump has said publicly, ‘Joe Biden and his son are stone cold corrupt.’ And chances are, he’s watching this interview. Anything … you want to say to him?
BIDEN: Yeah. Mr. President, release your tax returns. Let’s see how straight you are, okay old buddy? I put out 21 years of mine. So show us your tax returns, bud, what are you hidin’? You want to deal with corruption? Start to act like it. Release your tax returns or shut up.
Calling out President Trump by name, former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign introduced a plan on Monday to “strengthen our laws to ensure that no future president can ever again abuse the office for personal gain,” Axios reports.
“The ambitious plan, which comes as the Trump campaign continues to promote unsubstantiated corruption allegations against Biden himself, would seek to end the influence of money in politics and curb conflicts of interest.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA’ old MSNBC that President Trump “reeks of corruption” and “sounds like a criminal.”
Said Harris: “I was a prosecutor, and in a court I would be arguing that this is evidence of consciousness of guilt. The guy is scared because he knows he is going to be defeated in this election.”
A former top Ukrainian prosecutor told the Washington Post that he believed that Hunter Biden did not run afoul of any laws in Ukraine.
New York Times: “The two back-to-back addresses laid out the competing versions of populism that could come to define the presidential campaign. From the right, there is the strain Mr. Trump brought to maturity in 2016, combining the longstanding grievances of the white working class with a newer, darker angst about immigration and cultural change. And on the left, there is a vastly different populist wave still gaining strength, defined in economic terms by Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”
“The messages underlined the possibility that the 2020 election could be the first in a generation to be fought without an ally of either party’s centrist establishment on the ballot. While it is by no means certain that Ms. Warren will emerge as the Democratic nominee, two of her party’s top three candidates — Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders — are trumpeting themes of economic inequality and promises of sweeping political and social reform.”
For members: Populist Anger Hasn’t Gone Away
Politico: “Air Force officers who have earned medals for their tours of combat theaters can pick up some more brass with a short pitstop in Southwest Scotland. As part of its relationship with the Air Force, President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort occasionally gifts high-ranking officers a version of its ‘Pride Pin,’ a lapel pin featuring the property’s iconic lighthouse — an honor reserved for VIPs — upon their arrival, according a resort staffer familiar with the practice. Rank-and-file members can expect a more basic welcome package in their rooms, featuring goodies like Scottish shortbread.”
“A five-day visit to Turnberry and the surrounding region revealed that the regular visits from Air Force crews on layovers from Prestwick Airport have become a major facet of the life of the resort. It also revealed that, rather than being restricted to single-night refueling stops, some visits last multiple nights, expanding the known dimensions of the relationship between the president’s luxury resort and the U.S. military.”
In a Medium post, Warren proposes closing the loophole that “allows federal judges to escape investigations for misconduct by stepping down from their post.”
It’s a reference to a case involving Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump-Barry, whose retirement brought an abrupt end to an investigation into her role in various tax schemes of the family and potential fraud therein.